Virginia political activist Qasim Rashid is suing Joseph Cecil Vandevere after he sent repeated threats to lynch and harm Rashid.

On March 13, 2018, Vandevere used Twitter to send Rashid a picture of a man who had been violently lynched and asked him to “VIEW YOUR DESTINY.” Vandevere also sent Rashid several other Twitter messages filled with anti-Muslim slurs and threats. According to Muslim Advocates, these tweets have deeply shaken Rashid, made him fear for his and his family’s safety, and changed how he navigates public life. The lawsuit seeks money damages, attorneys’ fees, and other relief. Muslim Advocates and Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP are representing Rashid.

Rashid was the Democratic nominee for Virginia’s 1st congressional district in 2020. He previously served as the national spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA and just published the children’s book “Hannah and the Ramadan Gift.”

“My cousin was lynched with a rope around his neck and dragged through the streets because he was an Ahmadi Muslim. So when Joseph Vandevere targeted me because of my faith and sent me a picture of a man hanged by a rope, I took it as a very real threat to me and my family,” said Rashid. “This country was founded on a commitment to religious liberty. Through this lawsuit, I hope to send the message that no one should be threatened with violence merely for practicing their faith. In a year when over 3,800 instances of anti-Asian hate have been reported in this country, it is more important than ever that people of all communities stand up to this kind of targeted hate.” 

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